Report finds only 37% of organizations have skills and technology to keep pace with digital projects

Aug. 5, 2021
Easy access to data and IT capabilities are required to be productive

Most (82%) line-of-business (LoB) employees believe they need quick and easy access to data, IT systems and applications to do their jobs effectively and remain productive, according to the findings of “The State of Business and IT Innovation” report, a global survey from MuleSoft. Access to data is critical as more than half (59%) of LoB employees are involved in identifying, suggesting or creating new ways to improve the delivery of digital services externally, such as building an online self-service portal or a customer-facing mobile application. Yet less than one-third (29%) think their organizations are very effective in connecting and using data from multiple sources to drive business value. And only 37% of organizations definitely have the skills and technology to keep pace with digital projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the survey.

“Every industry faces immediate change, and every organization needs to respond to the needs of its customers faster than ever before in a digital-first world,” said Brent Hayward, CEO, MuleSoft. “This research shows data is one of the most critical assets that businesses need to move fast and thrive into the future. Organizations need to empower every employee to unlock and integrate data, no matter where it resides, to deliver critical, time-sensitive projects and innovation at scale, while making products and services more connected than ever.”

“The State of Business and IT Innovation” report highlights the challenges and opportunities that businesses need to address to digitally transform.

Data silos increasingly slow down digital initiatives

According to McKinsey’s “Digital strategy in a time of crisis” (, businesses that once mapped digital strategy in one- to three-year phases must now scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks. This report also sheds light on the COVID-19 pandemic leading to an increase in digital initiatives by an average 11-23%, highlighting what is hampering the pace of business and the ability to meet customer expectations.

Data silos: A third (33%) of LoB employees say the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lack of connectivity between existing IT systems, applications and data as an inefficiency when it comes to digital delivery.

A lack of digital skills: Almost three in 10 (29%) LoB employees say a lack of digital skills across the business is also an inefficiency when delivering digital projects.

Already stretched IT teams can’t deliver projects quickly enough: More than half (51%) of LoB employees are currently frustrated by the speed at which their IT team can deliver digital projects.

Integration challenges directly impact revenue and customer experiences

In light of increasing operational inefficiencies, it is not surprising that more than half (54%) of LoB respondents say they are frustrated by the challenge of connecting different IT systems, applications and data at their organizations. Many view this weakness as a threat to the business and the ability to provide connected customer experiences.

Siloed systems and data slow down business growth: LoB employees are well aware of the repercussions of failing to connect systems, applications and data. More than half (59%) agree that failure in this area will hinder business growth and revenue.

Behind disconnected experiences are disconnected systems, applications and data: The majority (59%) of LoB employees agree that an inability to connect systems, applications and data will negatively impact customer experience—a fundamental prerequisite for business success.

Automation initiatives require integration: Three in five (60%) respondents admit that failure to connect systems, applications and data will also hinder automation initiatives. This comes at a time when a growing number of organizations are looking to automate business processes via capabilities, such as robotic process automation (RPA). 

Organizations must unlock data to empower everyone to go digital, faster

As demands for digital initiatives grow, organizations across industries need to move faster. Business users are frustrated by data silos, slowing their ability to meet customer demand and innovate in today’s all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. The report highlights the need to democratize these capabilities by giving business users the tools they need to easily and quickly unlock data, connect applications and automate processes.

Organizations need to scale innovation beyond the four walls of IT: The majority (58%) of LoB employees think IT leaders are spending more of their time “keeping the lights on” rather than supporting innovation. Furthermore, 44% go as far as to say they think their organization’s IT department is a blocker on innovation. By using a self-serve model that empowers everyone to unlock data, IT can enable innovation everywhere in a way that’s governed but not gated by IT. IT can then be freed up from tactical integrations and maintenance to focus more on innovating and delivering high-impact projects.

Partnership with IT will be key to driving innovation: More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents think that IT and LoB employees should come together to jointly drive innovation in their organizations.

LoB employees need easy access to data to go faster: An overwhelming majority (80%) of respondents think it would be beneficial to their organizations if data and IT capabilities were discoverable and pre-packaged building blocks, which allow LoB employees to start creating digital solutions and deliver digital projects for themselves.

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